feticide

33 year old Indiana woman Purvi Patel was just sentenced to 41 years, 20 of them in prison, 10 suspended, remainder probation, FOR HAVING A MISCARRIAGE (no abortion drugs were found in her system, no evidence of her buying abortion pills exists other than a message of her inquiring about them, no actual proof the fetus was alive at birth, yet she was convicted for both feticide and child neglect even though those two charges are completely contradictory). They’re saying feticide laws were made to protect women. It is clear now they were actually made to punish them. Yet no word on most mainstream media about this - do we really have to wait for a white woman to become a victim of this witch hunt for it to finally matter?

REMINDER: The judge in Patel’s case, Elizabeth Hurley, was the first superior court appointee by Indiana’s conservative governor, Mike Pence. Judge Hurley allowed the jury to view a video of police interrogating Patel in post-operative recovery, despite defense arguments that Patel’s Miranda rights were ignored and she was recovering from sedation and severe blood loss during the questioning (she was questioned right after receiving medical help).

Two Ways to help Purvi Patel

From The Aerogram

Previously: 33 year-old Purvi Patel was arrested in Indiana on charges of feticide–an act that causes the death of a fetus.

She has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in Indiana as a result. Jennifer Chowdhury at NBC reports:

Patel is the first woman in the U.S. to be charged, convicted and sentenced on a feticide charge. Reproductive rights activists are outraged.

Patel was arrested in July 2013 after she went to the emergency room, bleeding heavily, at St. Joseph Hospital in Mishawaka, Indiana. Despite initially denying the pregnancy, Patel eventually admitted to medical authorities that she had a miscarriage and threw the stillborn fetus in a dumpster.

If you already know the story and want to help, click here to learn what you can do.

Prior to the arrest, Patel was considered an upstanding member of the community. She lived with her parents and grandparents and helped to build up a Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurant, the family business, working seven days a week and returning home to cook for her family and help take care of her grandparents. She’s a good desi girl, basically. So this jail sentence could, in essence, jeopardize her family’s ability to take care of itself as well.

The chilling part is that this medieval law in Indiana could just be a slippery slope. From The New York Times:

This is the first case I can find in which a state-level feticide law has been successfully used to punish a woman for trying to have an abortion. Women have been charged with other crimes after taking abortion pills without a prescription, but the feticide charge appears to be Indiana’s idea. It could spread, though: About 38 states have fetal homicide laws in place.

Here is a list of all 38: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin

Another excerpt from the same Times article highlights a possible trend in targeting pregnant women of color in Indiana:

Nevertheless, prosecutions like these are growing more frequent. In Indiana, before Purvi Patel, there was Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese immigrant who tried to commit suicide while pregnant and was also charged with feticide. The charges against Shuai were dropped in 2013 after she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and spent a year in custody. In Iowa, Christine Taylor faced charges for attempted fetal homicide after falling down the stairs, going to the hospital and being reported for trying to end her pregnancy.

So what can we do for Purvi Patel? Writer Deepa Iyer has four easy, quick ways you can start enacting change.

If you do nothing else, sign the petition protesting her arrest and make a tax-deductible donation to help her family out.

Under the guise of “religious freedom” Indiana’s Republican governor, Mike Pence has legalized discrimination against LGBTQ people. 

And filed under: No, “both parties are NOT the same” - the nearby Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, is about to pass a similar anti-gay bill. Yes, that would be the same Arkansas that refused to pass the Martin Luther King holiday and eventually acquiesced, but not before giving confederate “hero” Robert E. Lee Day a state holiday…on the same day as MKL Day.

Finally, but no less important, it should be noted that Indiana also has a “FETICIDE” law (which only applies to women) that imprisons a woman if she “endangers” a fetus, or gives birth to a stillborn child.

Chinese Women Faces Life Sentence In America For Suicide Attempt That Killed Fetus

On December 23 2010, Bei Bei Shuai became so depressed after she had been abandoned by her boyfriend – a married Chinese man who broke his promise to set up a family with her – that she decided to end her life. She consumed rat poison, and after confessing to friends was rushed to the Methodist hospital.

Doctors took steps to save her, but on December 31 there were signs that the baby, then at 33 weeks gestation, was in distress and a Caesarian was performed. On the second day the baby was found to have a massive brain haemorrhage and on January 2 was taken off life support.

March 14th last year, Shuai was arrested and taken into custody in the high-security Marion County prison, where she was held for the next 435 days, charged with murdering her fetus and attempted feticide. If convicted of the murder count she faces a sentence of 45 years to life.

Bei Bei Shuai is at the sharp end of the creeping criminalization of pregnancy across America. Women who lose their unborn babies – whether in cases of maternal drug addiction or in Shuai’s case a failed suicide attempt – are increasingly finding themselves accused of murder.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Shuai told the Guardian she is determined to defend herself as she prepares for a murder trial scheduled for December. “I have a strong desire to stay in America,” she said, three days after she had been released from jail on $50,000 bail. “I want to stay and fight this case. I have the best legal team, and I’m not afraid anymore to face the charges.

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Outraged About Purvi Patel Case? Four Things to Do Now

On Monday March 30, 2015, an Indiana judge issued Purvi Patel a 41 year sentence, with 20 years to be served in prison, for the crimes of feticide and neglect of a dependent. Patel maintains that she had a stillbirth and sought medical care.

Prosecuting, charging, convicting, and sentencing Purvi Patel is wrong for many reasons. The feticide law was intended to protect pregnant women – not criminalize them. Punishing a woman who suffered a miscarriage and sought medical attention sets a dangerous precedent for women in Indiana and around the nation (38 other states have similar feticide laws).  The potential impact on women of color and immigrant women – Purvi Patel is the second Asian woman to be charged under the feticide law in Indiana – is frightening.

Four Things You Can Do Now:

1. Sign the petition at RhReality Check: Send a message to Indiana leaders about Purvi’s case and the feticide law. You can also sign a petition here (at whitehouse.gov) which asks for a full pardon for Purvi Patel.

2. Support Purvi Patel’s Family: Patel was the breadwinner and caregiver in her family. Donate to support her family.

3. Raise awareness: Share articles and resources about the verdict with your own networks; write blogposts and opeds; and tweet using #Justice4Purvi to raise awareness about the implications of this case on the rights of all women.

4. Send a note of support to Purvi Patel: You can send cards to Purvi Patel c/o The Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice (IRCRC), PO Box 723, Lafayette, IN 47902. They will deliver them to Patel on their visits to her in prison.

AND:

*Check out the work of organizations such as the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Apna Ghar, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute and the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice  for resources, talking points and additional information.

*You can also join the Facebook page, Justice for Purvi Patel, here.

*Additional articles to read/share:

*Why Purvi Patel’s Indianness Matters by Ashwini Tambe

*Purvi Patel Could Be Just the Beginning at the New York Times

*Various articles in India Abroad, which reaches Indian American families around the U.S.

Hello my children. You should be enraged.

Why? Because Indiana has sentenced a woman to about 70 years in jail for what she said was a miscarriage, but no one believes her, despite the fact that no one else was there and there’s no proof that it was anything else. 

Not only was she wrongfully convicted, she is the first to be convicted feticide, which was meant to protect women, not put them in jail. 

Purvi Patel is an Indian and Hindu woman who, unfortunately, experienced the miscarriage of her child in Mishawaka, Indiana. However, when she disposed of the fetus, and went to the hospital for the pain, the doctor called the cops because he suspected “child abuse”, which doesn’t make sense to me but whatever. After he alerts the cops, she tells him what happened and he updates them and goes with them to find the fetus. When they find it, they accuse her of neglecting her child, and feticide. They try to prove that the fetus was alive when she disposed of it, but they had not proof at all. There were no traces of abortion drugs in her or the fetus. Expert witnesses could not come to a consensus about the age of the fetus. If that doesn’t make you angry, know that she was charged with two crimes that completely contradict each other. 

This whole thing smells like racism and misogyny to me. This whole case can lead to brown women and immigrants to have a deep mistrust of the medical system as well as our government. 

Get angry about this with me. Spread the word and let people know more about Indiana. This whole thing is fucked up and something needs to be done. If you live in or near Mishawaka, protest, or pass around petitions, do something! This woman needs our help and as feminists, its our duty to do something. 

source source source source

The prosecution of Purvi Patel began in sorrow and ended in more sadness this week. Patel, a 33-year-old woman who lives in Indiana, was accused of feticide — specifically, illegally inducing her own abortion — and accused of having a baby whom she allowed to die. The facts supporting each count are murky, but a jury convicted Patel in February, and on Monday she was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

It’s tempting to simply look away from Patel’s case on the grounds that it is an outlier, however tragic. But it demonstrates how unsparing the criminal-justice system can be to women whose pregnancies end in (or otherwise involve) suspicious circumstances. If one lesson of the case is about the legal risk of inducing your own late-term abortion, another is about the peril of trying to get medical help when you are bleeding and in pain. […]

This is the first case I can find in which a state-level feticide law has been successfully used to punish a woman for trying to have an abortion.

—  Purvi Patel Could Be Just the Beginning by Emily Bazelon at the New York Times

Sentencing someone to prison for a miscarriage seems outrageous—but Indiana’s law is part of an increasing number of “fetus rights” laws nationwide. In thirty-eight states, violence against women that results in pregnancy loss is called fetal homicide. But, as demonstrated by Indiana, that law can be—and has been—used to criminalize the women themselves who lose their pregnancies.

Map credit: PRI, with data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jorawar believes it’s no coincidence that the only two charges of feticide in Indiana — a state where only 2% of the population is Asian — were against Asian-American women. “There is a connection between the stereotypes that are being told about Asians and what is going on in Indiana and what happened to Purvi and Bei Bei,” she said. “That Asians have some kind of criminal disposition when it comes to pregnancy and reproduction… it’s an idea among anti-abortion activists that we cannot be trusted.” Jorawar is concerned that these stereotypes will result in Asian women being treated with more suspicion — or even turned away — when seeking abortions, out of fear that they are aborting on the basis of sex, which could mean prison time for doctors.

After suffering a stillbirth, Purvi Patel was sentenced to prison under Indiana’s feticide law. She is the first person to be first person to be charged, convicted, and sentenced for the crime of feticide in the United States. 

This is what the landscape looks like if pregnancy outcomes, including abortions, are the subject of criminal investigations in the United States.

SIGN THE PETITION and demand justice for Purvi Patel

nbcnews.com
Indiana Court Tosses Purvi Patel's 2015 Feticide Conviction
Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015, two years after her self-induced abortion at her family's home.

“ The ruling issued Friday comes in the case of Purvi Patel, who was convicted of neglect and feticide last year. However, the court upheld a lower-level felony neglect of a dependent conviction.”

While I maintain that there was no ‘dependent’ to neglect, this is a minor win in an ongoing struggle for reproductive rights. 

nbcnews.com
Indiana Sentences Purvi Patel to 20 Years for Feticide
On Monday, the state of Indiana sentenced 33-year-old Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison on charges of

Even in a country where abortion is legal, women are still punished for having a MISCARRIAGE. There was no evidence Patel even tried to induce a self-abortion. Another woman, Bei Bei Shuai found herself in prison when she survived a desperate suicide attempt and her fetus did not. Instead of getting the help and support that she needed for her mental illness, she was charged with murder and attempted feticide. The way these women have been treated is unacceptable and frankly horrifying.

Woman Charged With Murder After Abortion -- She's Not The First One

Woman Charged With Murder After Abortion — She’s Not The First One

Twenty-three-year-old Kenlissia Jones of Albany, Georgia has been charged with the murder of her five-month-old fetus. It is reported that she ordered an “abortion pill” on the internet and took it Saturday evening. After taking the pill, she went to the hospital. The D.A. says the case will likely go to a grand jury. Initially, when I saw this story, I thought to myself, “wow, this must be the…

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thedailybeast.com
After a pregnant Indiana woman tried to kill herself—and lost her newborn—the state threw her in prison. Jennifer Block reports on Bei Bei Shuai's strange saga, and why women can't be held criminally liable for their pregnancy.

And the case is not an outlier. The National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which is assisting with Shaui’s defense, has been tracking hundreds of similar cases: women who have been locked up on murder or attempted murder charges because they miscarry or because their baby dies soon after birth; women who are charged with child abuse while pregnant (the “child” being the fetus); and alternatively, pregnant women who have been court-ordered to hospitalization or cesarean sections against their will. All of these cases are based on statutes that effectively give fetuses more rights than the women upon whom they are physiologically dependent.

An Indiana judge on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old woman, Purvi Patel, to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent.

Patel is the first woman in Indiana to be convicted under the state’s feticide law. Activists say the case highlights the way that prosecutors across the U.S. are increasingly using laws designed to protect expecting mothers to criminalize women for terminating a pregnancy or allegedly harming an unborn child.

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Anyone surprised that the first person charged convicted of this crime is a Woman of Color?

To place this into perspective, 20% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

In Indiana there were 64,304 white babies born and 19,636 minority babies born. That means that there should have been 3.27x as many white woman that miscarried as there were minority women that miscarried. 

That means that we should be seeing the next 3 convictions for this crime be white women (I highly doubt this will happen).

Even if we look at this as a abortion ban (which is how the law is being used), white women are the number one seekers of abortion in this country. This should mean that white women are the number one group of people that are imprisoned for this crime. 

But somehow, it was a WOC who is first imprisoned for this crime and it’s likely that they will be the group that has charges brought against them the most.